So you’re 50 years old and want to find the childhood friend you made doilies with. Or maybe you’re planning your big class reunion and in search of the elusive prom queen. Either way you have a problem don’t you? For you are searching for girls. And girls are funny, because in the fullness of time, girls become women.
Women are sneaky. Admit it. Almost every woman you know has changed their name at least once, twice or even three times. You’d never catch a man doing that. Whether women do this to hide from justice, or simply to make it harder for us to background them, who can say?
But if you want to find or background an old female classmate of yours, you’ve got to be ready for the name game. The good news is that most women are not hard to find. And that means there’s hope for all of you wannabe event planners. But to get their current last name means you’ll have to do an extra step in your search for them.
To illustrate I will show you how I found a particular person when all I had was her name and address from 45 years ago. Her name is Danise Warden (name misspelled to thwart the Googlebots that will see this blog)
- Finding Their Last Name
- Limit Google To Recent Life Events and More Hits Per Page
- Confirming Their Address or Contact Info
- Making Contact
Finding Their Last Name
First, let’s talk about the low hanging fruit. In other words, the easy pickins for those who hate to do background checks.
Google The Last Place You Met Them
An easy first step is to Google the full name of your subject with the school or place where you met them. After all, others may be looking for her too. And you may learn from the school’s alumni page that she did charity work, got married or ran away to Brazil.
Google For Name Changes
Or simply try Googling for her new surname. New Surnames and other information come out often in wedding announcements and obituaries. So try searching with her full name and words like wedded, marriage, wedding, married, deceased, death, etc.
Google What Else You Know About Them
As with any search for a last name, you’ll need to hit the search engines. Search engines are great because they allow you to put in a name with other terms like Graham Firestone and Lawyer or Jackie Slabaugh and Russian. And with common names, you’ll need to weed out the people you are NOT looking for.
Most people know far more than they think they do. Their most common mistake is that they never Google for what made Susan Johnson most unique. For example: Susan Johnson blind unicycle rider. Or Loretta Smith 123 Uniblab Drive. For more, see List What You Know About The Person. See also Backgrounding People With Common Names.
Tracking Recent Life Events (Google)
Often you’ll get old information or want to weed out what you’ve already seen. To cut down on the clutter, you can limit your hits to a certain time period. Simply Google with your desired search words and hit enter as in step 1. Then follow steps 2 through 4 below!
See 100 Results A Page (Search Google Faster Without Clicking Next Next Next)
See all your hits for your old friend, all at once! To see 100 results per page, Click Here to get to the Google Advanced Search page. Then move the results from 10 to 100 and click “Save” as shown below. You’ll never regret it!
Age/Relative Lookups To Track The Men
Another way to find your old female friend, is through the men associated with her. Most important is if you can remember the names of her brothers or father.
Unlike our subject, most law abiding men don’t change their last name. And so you can Google or track her through the names of her male relatives.
To save time, start with the guy who’s name is most unique and less likely to bring up false leads. For example: If Joan Firestone had two brothers, John and Uniblab you could Google for Uniblab Firestone (rare name) or Joan and Uniblab firestone. (Uniblab is far less common a name than John and avoids getting the people who are are unrelated to Joan.)
Even better, in the hopes of finding Joan listed as one of his relatives, you could search for Uniblab Firestone in the age, relative lookups. The age relative lookups may list brothers and sisters along with their latest surnames. There may even be a clickable link to your subject so you know it’s really the right person. Often this link will lead to her current name, age, address or the cities she’s lived in.
But what if the subject had no men in her life or you simply don’t know who they are? No problem. Just look for her mother or sisters. As with any of the guy names above. you can Google them or or enter the most unique name in the age, relative lookups.
How I Found Danise Warden-A Live Background Check in Action!
Now back to Danise Warden. With such a common name as this, I didn’t even bother Googling it. At this point, doing so would give me thousands of useless hits. And I would have no idea which one was her but for her age and where she lived as a child. That’s still doable, but it takes a long time when all you have a is a common name and no relatives to weed out the false leads.
Here I got lucky because when I Googled her childhood address (by street number and name only), I got Marlene Warden. (MOMMY) From there I looked Marlene up on the age lookups and found this:
Sadly, there was no clickable link to Danise, but she had some relatives with rare names such as Norrin and Cloe. So my plan was to Google Norrin and if that didn’t work, Google all the men, or do age relative lookups on all the men. After all, the womenfolk could change their names and disappear on me. But the men would be easier to track. Worse comes to worse, I could also take a stab at searching for Cloe. And then hope to find a link or a reference to her sister Danise.
Note that any of these approaches could get me her last name or a link to Danise as a relative. I could also Google the men along with her first name. For example, Norrin Danise Warden or Jeffrey Danise Warden.
In this case I Googled Norrin Warden and immediately
found the obituary below:
Be sure to read all obituaries very closely. (I almost missed her last name until someone else caught it for me.)
Here I was able to find her new surname and her marital status all in one happy document! But alas, this was all from 2002. Plenty of time for her to divorce or remarry. So we were getting closer, but I still had no confirmation as to what her name or status was as of today,
Confirming Name, Address or Contact Info
From there it was easy. I could now do age, contact info lookups on Danise Warran and find the one of the right age that also listed her husband Brent as a relative. These lookups often pull up lots of contact information, including both old and new addresses, phone numbers and email addresses, and maybe even a profession or employment. (At this point you’ll want to copy all you find as you’ll need it later.)
Google Husband and Wife’s First Names with Last To Track Marital Status and Location
One way I tracked Danise was to Google her first name and Brent’s together with her new last name (Danise Brent Warran or Brent Danise Warran). Often your Google search will pull up age relative lookup sites which have their address and middle names or middle initial. And this means you can Google your subject without fear of getting false leads, e.g. Danise Marlene Warran or “Danise M Warran”
But I wasn’t done yet. Armed with her last name, now was the time to gather info. So like a wolf circling the stagecoach, I was always on the alert for my point of entry. And that meant finding proof positive that both her name and contact info were the same as in 2002.
Confirmed Contact Info Through Reverse Searches
By now I had lots of contact information. So I started plugging her phone numbers and addresses into the free reverse lookups. If the address or phone number returned her name it was most likely valid. Those that returned someone else’s name were likely not valid. I also could have Googled these phone numbers and addresses for any recent hits on her.
Confirmed Address & Marital Status with Government Property Records
At this point, I felt fairly confident that if I wanted to, I could contact her. However, commercial sources are often unreliable. They tend to list the old phone numbers and addresses as current while the current ones are sometimes buried midway in the list.
So to be absolutely certain, I wanted verification from the gubmint. Leave it to Uncle Sam and the state and county government to know exactly where you are and what you are doing.
An easy first step was to look her up by property records. But if I didn’t find her, my next step would be to search for her husband Brent. After all, they may rent, or she may not be listed on the deed.
Now California is stingy with searching by name. Perhaps because so many privacy loving movie stars don’t want people like me to track them down. But in my glorious search, I came across other government property filings which allowed name lookups, and it was here that I found her property info below:
I love the gubmint because their records are so up to date. This particular record showed that as of 2015 Danise still had the same last name and was living in the same county as my latest address for her. Bless her heart.
Also noteworthy was that there was no evidence she ever sold the property. In other words, as late as 2015, she’s had the same name and lived at the same place and probably lives there now.
I was done circling. I knew she lived in Moakley. I knew her middle name. I knew her spouse. There was now enough information to distinguish her from any other Danise Warrans. So when it was time to pull the trigger.I simply Googled danise warran california facebook
I knew I hit pay dirt when I saw a Facebook page with her new name and Moakely CA. With her phone number listed too!
So you may ask, why didn’t I just Google her first before looking at her property? And why Google her when you could jump directly to Facebook? The answer is that you could have done that.
Doing a background check is as much an art as it is a science. You never know what searches will turn up what and in what order.
But with common names, if you Google or Facebook too early without confirming addresses, middle name or or contact info, you may find 50 people with the same name and not know which one is your old classmate.
I prefer Googling before Facebook simply because it’s better when you want to search for a name plus something else. For unique names, there’s nothing wrong with jumping straight to Facebook.